DANBURY, CONN. — From "Moon River" to "Skylark," the songs may be familiar, but the man behind them is a stranger to many — until now.
At 7 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 26, the songs of Johnny Mercer will come to Western Connecticut State University as former Broadway performer and WCSU adjunct lecturer Don Stitt uncovers the man behind the music. Mercer's popular hits include "That Old Black Magic," "One for My Baby" and "Jeepers Creepers."
"Too Marvelous: The Songs of Johnny Mercer" will be held in Alumni Hall on the university's Midtown campus, 181 White St. in Danbury. The event is free and open to the public.
Stitt, who performed on Broadway in the original cast of "Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story," will perform 42 songs accompanied by pianist Michael Lavine. Stitt said Mercer wrote the lyrics to more than 3,000 published songs.
"He probably has his name on more sheets of music — except for Cole Porter, Noel Coward and Irving Berlin — than anyone in the industry," Stitt said. "Every Big Band had a hit that was a Mercer song.
"My script ties the songs together and tells how Mercer made his way so rapidly," Stitt said. "The history of Johnny Mercer has been whitewashed. I'm telling more of the story and connecting the dots. In his early 20s, he became dominant in music publishing and radio and then became a sought-after vocalist. Mercer worked with big names starting in the 1930s and remained a major force in songwriting for more than 40 years."
For more information, contact the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.